Decorating the Church

Now, just in case there is anyone reading this who comes to St Mary’s who hasn’t been around in previous years at Christmas – there’s a job to be done tomorrow that you might not know about and your help would be most appreciated.

As a liturgical church we are vigilant about keeping Advent, a time of preparation and waiting, a time which has its own distinctive (and sometimes slightly disturbing) mood. After Advent comes Christmas.

People sometimes find it strange to come to church in December and see no Christmas tree and no decorations but that’s because it ain’t Christmas yet. Whilst the world goes mad on lights and tinsel, we live in comparative plainness. No flowers. No glitz. Nothing to catch the eye.

All of this raises the question as to when we let go and decorate for the Feast. I’ve settled on a compromise which works for us. It is this – we don’t have anything Christmassy until we’ve managed to celebrate the Sung Eucharist on the fourth Sunday in Advent (which is tomorrow). Its a pragmatic compromise. If it was all up to me there would be no dressing the church in its finery until Christmas Eve and no Carol Service until Boxing Day. However, in this respect I am a pragmatist and am prepared to compromise for the greater good.

Thus, tomorrow morning is Advent in its austerity. Tomorrow evening is the Christmas Carol Service in all its glory.

Between the two, we need to make the difference, and that’s where you come in.

Once the words of the dismissal have been uttered tomorrow morning, all glitter breaks out. We’ve a job to do, dressing the church for the evening. Flowers, lights, Christmas trees, spit, polish and sparkle all need to be added to the church.

Its often one of the really nice community times of the year and often a chance to get to know folk whilst you are untangling the Christmas lights.

There’s a job for everyone as we get the church ready. If you are coming to sing “O come, O come Emmanuel” tomorrow morning, do plan on staying around for a bit after the service to help to get the church ready for Himself to arrive.